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Dempster sprints to victory in Tesco Rutland-Melton Cicle Classic

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Riders line up in Oakham ready for the start of the 2011 Tesco Cicle Classic.

Riders line up in Oakham ready for the start of the 2011 Tesco Cicle Classic.
(Image credit: Larry Hickmott - VeloUK.net)
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Dean Downing leads the chase after Leo Fortin catching him with 8k to go.

Dean Downing leads the chase after Leo Fortin catching him with 8k to go.
(Image credit: Larry Hickmott - VeloUK.net)
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Zak Dempster on the attack with 20 to go.

Zak Dempster on the attack with 20 to go.
(Image credit: Larry Hickmott - VeloUK.net)
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What is left of the field exists the Somerby sector of the race with only 20k to go.

What is left of the field exists the Somerby sector of the race with only 20k to go.
(Image credit: Larry Hickmott - VeloUK.net)
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Scott Thwaites leads the race across the farm track at Somerby.

Scott Thwaites leads the race across the farm track at Somerby.
(Image credit: Larry Hickmott - VeloUK.net)
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Dan Craven slides into the barriers in Owston but stays upright.

Dan Craven slides into the barriers in Owston but stays upright.
(Image credit: Larry Hickmott - VeloUK.net)
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Eventual winner Zak Dempster leads the race in the feedzone outside Owston.

Eventual winner Zak Dempster leads the race in the feedzone outside Owston.
(Image credit: Larry Hickmott - VeloUK.net)
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Tom Southam on the attack at the first king of the Bergs sprint.

Tom Southam on the attack at the first king of the Bergs sprint.
(Image credit: Larry Hickmott - VeloUK.net)
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The lone leader takes the sprint in Oakham after the opening laps of Rutland Water.

The lone leader takes the sprint in Oakham after the opening laps of Rutland Water.
(Image credit: Larry Hickmott - VeloUK.net)
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Martyn Irvine of Ireland was very agressive in the early stages.

Martyn Irvine of Ireland was very agressive in the early stages.
(Image credit: Larry Hickmott - VeloUK.net)
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First attack of the day after only a mile of racing.

First attack of the day after only a mile of racing.
(Image credit: Larry Hickmott - VeloUK.net)
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The barbeque was doing a roaring trade in a packed Owston.

The barbeque was doing a roaring trade in a packed Owston.
(Image credit: Larry Hickmott - VeloUK.net)
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The in form Graham Briggs relaxing in the wheels during the early stages.

The in form Graham Briggs relaxing in the wheels during the early stages.
(Image credit: Larry Hickmott - VeloUK.net)
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Peter Johnson goes to a wheel after a crash in the early stages of the race.

Peter Johnson goes to a wheel after a crash in the early stages of the race.
(Image credit: Larry Hickmott - VeloUK.net)
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Leo Fortin hangs on to a slender lead as the chasers close in on him.

Leo Fortin hangs on to a slender lead as the chasers close in on him.
(Image credit: Larry Hickmott - VeloUK.net)

Zak Dempster triumphed on Sunday in the English cousin of the “Eroica” in Italy, the Tesco Rutland-Melton Cicle Classic (1.2), when he outsprinted Belgium’s Erwin De Kerf (Hand in Hand Espoirs) and Poland’s Marcin Bialoblocki (Motorpoint) at the head of an 18-rider group.

Contrary to previous years, the Cicle Classic wasn’t decided in the first kilometres by a huge breakaway that the peloton would never see again. Instead, the bunch was whittled down in an elimination race through the twisty and undulating roads of the East Midlands countryside, which give the Cicle Classic a Tour of Flanders’ look.

“To be honest it was a quite negative race today,” Dempster told Cyclingnews at the finish. “I was pretty aggressive, perhaps too much, but it never helped to make the difference.” Perhaps the dry weather was the main factor in the wait-and-see nature of the race.

Three riders tried serious lone escapes, however: Briton Tom Southam (Rapha Condor), Spaniard Javier Pomares (KTM-Murcia) and Frenchman Léo Fortin (ESEG Douai).

The latter, a pro stagiaire with Crédit Agricole in 2006 who stopped racing in 2010 and came back last winter, was caught with three kilometres to go, after an escape of around thirty kilometres. His gap reached 1:50 but he said that he had no illusions in the last 12 kilometres.

Following a very fast teammate of Fortin’s into the last corner before the line, Dempster almost crashed but he was in second position, a perfect position for the sprint. In the previous kilometres, his team had supported him through Dan Craven and Dean Downing's strong lead-out. The other Rapha rider in the front group, Graham Briggs, was another wildcard for the sprint.

The 23-year-old Dempster, a former track specialist as part of the Australian Institute of Sport’s programme, confirmed his strong abilities in the “Flemish” classics with this victory. On a similar course, he won the Dengie Marshes Tour last week, a Premier calendar race in Essex. In 2009 he rode Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne with Bulgarian continental team CC Bourgas and finished 15th of the Three Days of West Flanders.

“To win the Tesco Rutland-Melton Cicle Classic was something special,” Dempster said. “I really enjoyed the route. It’s like the Tro Bro Leon [another semi-classic in Brittany – Ed.] and I really like it!” He expects to join a WorldTour team as soon as possible. Dempster will soon have further opportunities to shine at the highest level, notably in France with the Tour of Lorraine, the Ronde de l’Oise and the Boucles de la Mayenne.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Zakkari Dempster (Aus) Rapha Condor - Sharp4:09:56
2Erwin De Kerf (Bel)
3Marcin Bialoblocki (Pol) Motorpoint
4Jonathan Mcevoy (GBr) Motorpoint
5Jose Ramirez (Spa)
6Tomas Okrouhlicky (Cze) AC Sparta Praha
7Llewwellyn Kinch (GBr)
8Kasper Linde Jorgensen (Den) Glud & Marstrand - LRO
9Lasse Bochmann (Den) Glud & Marstrand - LRO
10David Clarke (GBr) Endura Racing
11Daniel Fleeman (GBr)
12David Skrzypczak (Fra)
13David Mcgowan (GBr)
14Niki Ostergaard (Den) Glud & Marstrand - LRO
15Niklas Gustavsson (Swe)
16Graham Briggs (GBr) Rapha Condor - Sharp
17Javier Benitez Pomares (Spa) KTM - Murcia
18Ian Bibby (GBr) Motorpoint
19Pierre Drancourt (Fra)0:00:13
20Liam Holohan (GBr)0:00:17
21Bastien Delrot (Fra)0:00:19
22Dan Craven (Nam) Rapha Condor - Sharp0:00:30
23Léo Fortin (Fra)0:00:36
24Steven Lampier (GBr) Sigma Sport - Specialized0:00:48
25Scott Thwaites (GBr) Endura Racing0:00:56
26Horton Tobyn (GBr) Motorpoint0:01:00
27David Mclean (GBr)0:01:05
28James Sampson (GBr) Motorpoint0:01:25
29James Stewart (GBr)0:01:41
30Robert Partridge (GBr) Endura Racing0:01:55
31Dean Downing (GBr) Rapha Condor - Sharp0:01:56
32Jack Adams (GBr)0:02:11
33Szlachta Wojciech (Pol)0:02:12
34Wouter Sybrandy (Ned) Sigma Sport - Specialized
35Andrew Hawdon (GBr)0:02:22
36Salvador Guardiola Tora (Spa) KTM - Murcia0:02:41
37Rafael Rodriguez (Spa)0:03:22
38Jason Flooks (GBr)0:06:19
39Andy Coupe (GBr)
40Ashley Cox (GBr)
41Matthew Higgins (GBr)
42Alastair Kay (GBr)
43James Mccallum (GBr) Rapha Condor - Sharp
44Michael Berling (Den) Glud & Marstrand - LRO
45Richard Handley (GBr)0:06:34
46Andrew Griffiths (GBr)0:06:36
47Martyn Irvine (Irl) Giant Kenda Cycling Team0:06:47
48Tom Barras (GBr)
49James Mclaughlin (GBr)
50Ward Lapiere (Bel)
51Jody Crawforth (GBr)
52Gunnar Gronlund (Swe)0:06:53
53Perry Bowater (GBr)0:06:58
54Chris Opie (GBr)0:07:36
55Evan Oliphant (GBr) Endura Racing
56Geoffrey Deresmes (Fra)0:11:58
57John Tanner (GBr)
58Stephen Adams (GBr) Sigma Sport - Specialized
59Dan Smith (GBr)
60Ross Creber (GBr)
61James Cambridge (GBr)
62Rob Carter (GBr)
63Arne De Schuyter (Bel)
64Kristian Downs (GBr)
65James Scott (GBr)
66Philip Mooney (USA)
67Michael Cuming (GBr)0:12:05
68Chris Mark (GBr)0:12:16
69Simon Wilson (GBr)0:14:55
70Ryan Sherlock (Irl) Giant Kenda Cycling Team
71Richard Mardle (GBr)
72Mark Perry (GBr)
73Tomas Hruby (Cze) AC Sparta Praha
74Oscar Garcia-Casarrubios Pintor (Spa) KTM - Murcia
75Ray Alexander (NZl)
76Matthew Hamilton (GBr)
77David Palmer (GBr)
78Duncan Moralee (GBr)
79Robert Hayles (GBr) Endura Racing
80Kevin Dawson (GBr)
81Richard Meadows (Irl)
82Joe Norledge (GBr)
83Arne Govaert (Bel)
84Matt Myers (USA)
85Ben Simmons (GBr)
86Dale Appleby (GBr)
87Robert Orr (GBr)
88Matthew Ullmer (GBr)
89Antoine Fouldrin (Fra)
90Damien Shaw (Irl)

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